The Russian company SUP, which owned the Russian LiveJournal, acquired the entire service. Analysts believe that SUP can bring a “second wind to the project,” since for the company, unlike the previous owner of Live Journal, it is the main business. However, LJ are beginning to crowd social networks in Russia.
Russian company Sup Fabrik buys blog service Livejournal. At the moment, the amount that SUP paid to the previous owner of the portal, SixApart, has not been disclosed. SUP has already announced its program of actions in the near future – “100 days”, which, as stated in the company’s statement, should lead to an increase in the speed of the site, an improvement in its ease of use, as well as an increase in the project’s “socialization”.
The SUP company, which was created by Russian financier Alexander Mamut and businessman Andrew Paulson, known as the creator of the Afisha publishing house (ID), announced itself in October 2006, when it announced the purchase of rights to service the Cyrillic segment of Livejournal.com in Russia better known as LiveJournal, or LJ. Then it was about 681 thousand accounts registered in Russia, the CIS countries, Bulgaria, Mongolia and Macedonia, as well as everywhere where there are Russian-speaking communities.
In the Russian-speaking LJ itself, this purchase caused a flurry of indignation at the alleged threat to “freedom of speech” on the pages of this resource.
The fact is that in LJ there are many blogs on political topics, including sharply opposition ones. Their owners suspected SUP of wanting to destroy an “independent resource.” However, even then, the director of the company’s blogs, Anton Nosik, said that the server with the content of Russian LJ blogs would not be available to Russian security forces.
During the time SUP owned Russian LJ, the number of Russian-speaking users of the service, according to the company, grew to 1.23 million people, and the monthly increase in accounts is 45-60 thousand per month.
However, some experts note a drop in interest in LiveJournal in Russia against the backdrop of an avalanche-like increase in social network users. In particular, the Odnoklassniki network claims about 6 million users, and VKontakte – about 3.5 million. Moreover, on the pages of the LiveJournal itself there were communities that speak very critically of the Odnoklassniki service.
However, the company itself does not believe that Livejournal competes with social networks.
“At the company level, we do not compete with social networks, and our users express the exact opposite – there are those who like Odnoklassniki, there are those who do not,” said Anton Nosik to a Gazeta.Ru correspondent. According to him, the functionality of these resources is different. According to Leonid Delitsyn, an analyst at Finam IC, despite the difference in capabilities and needs that people realize with the help of these resources, they compete as advertising platforms. According to him, Livejournal now loses in popularity to all major social networks – such as Facebook, MSN Spaces and MySpace. However, Delitsyn does not consider that the potential of such resources is correctly measured using the number of accounts. “They (accounts) are overwhelmingly free, so advertisers are only interested in the number of page visits”, – he notes.
According to the president of the Internet and Business Association, Aleksey Belyaev, these projects are competing because the advertiser doesn’t have many opportunities to reach the widest possible audience.
According to Delitsyn, the cost of the transaction can vary between $ 20 and $ 40 million. However, according to the expert, the transaction could not include the monetary component. “During the year, the SUP team worked on the project’s functionalities, so SixApart may have already moved away from real control over it”, – said Delitsyn.
Experts interviewed by Gazeta.Ru note that SUP is ready to pay more attention to the project than the previous owner. “For SixApart, LJ is only one of the businesses, while for SUP it is the main project,” notes Belyaev. “SixApart did not really understand what to do with this project, and SUP can make it a full-fledged business”, – Delitsyn says.